“Farm Shop” brings supplies, knowledge and profits to Kenyan farmers

A proven retail and distribution model

Over 43% of Kenya’s population remains food insecure and 46% live below the poverty line. The government recognizes the importance of small-scale farmers—who contribute 75% of the country’s agricultural output. But increasing their agricultural productivity is challenging: supply chains are fragmented, inefficient, and informal. Counterfeit products are pervasive, availability is poor, and prices are high due to supply chain inefficiencies and unequal power relationships.

A Kenyan social enterprise is addressing these challenges with a modern distribution network that provides rural farmers with affordable and reliable access to products, education, women-friendly services, and trustworthy service providers. Seed funding from a Canadian family foundation (Comart) and two global foundations (MasterCard and Ford) validated the model, finding that farmers are more likely to buy and correctly use farm inputs proven to increase yields.

Expanding Farm Shops across Sub-Saharan Africa

Follow-on funding from CIFSRF is building on the success of the first 25 shops by providing the training and support to establish a network of 125 new franchises. Researchers foresee that this is the tipping point for financial sustainability, which would eliminate the need for government subsidies. The results will pave the wave for expansion of another 500 certified shops in East Africa by 2020, and a network of 10,000 shops in sub-Sahara Africa within a decade. 

Farm Shop’s team of business and agricultural specialists, along with researchers from Kenya and Canada, will test ways to increase the scale of Farm Shop’s operation to the expected breakeven point of 150 stores.

Expected results

  • By the end of 2017, establish a network of 150 shops serving 75,000 smallholder farmers (50% women), benefiting some 375,000 people in farming families
  • Double or triple yields of smallholder farmers, increasing their incomes, and the supply of food in poor rural areas
  • Create 1,375 new full, part-time, and indirect jobs as a result of 125 new shops
  • Share research results and lessons learned with African decision-makers, business, and local community leaders

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Sunday, November 1, 2015

End Date

Thursday, March 1, 2018


28 months

IDRC Officer

Rondon Marco

Total funding

CA$ 1,500,000



Project Leader

Kevin McKague


Board of Governors of Cape Breton University

Institution Website